“I’ve got something for you,” he says with a little smile leaning over to share the screen on his phone.

Ron does this often now during our Covid sheltering. In a dose of escapism, he spends a few minutes watching TikTok videos – mostly dogs, cats and house squirrels. And then with great delight shares one or two of his favorites with me. I like it too – I enjoy the best of the best without having to move a finger – and he knows exactly what makes me smile.

The little TikTok sillies are a welcome diversion these days (weeks, months) from news of the hot mess we call our country. I’m sure we’re all perfecting our preferred forms of escapism – TikToc being one of the more innocuous (maybe? – anything can be overdone, right?).

The video he’s showing me has a very smart dog (maybe a Border collie, I don’t remember) plucking out each toy as his mom (yes, “dog mom,” a little creepy but that’s what the relationship feels like, yes?) barks out the toy’s name.

“Caterpillar”, “Monkey”, “Pink bunny”… probably about 10 different toys. He aces it every time.

Ron replays it another time or two, marveling at the intelligence of this canine brainiac. He then wistfully glances down at our perky little Sawyer sitting at our feet, his plumage tail spinning in circles. He’s a happy dog.

“Hmmmm, I don’t think he’s very smart,” laments Ron.

Suddenly, I’m stunned. I’m offended. A dart has hit me between the eyes. I’m indignant.

I begin arguing the point. “I think you’re wrong!”

The fight response has kicked in. I gather more mental ammo to prove my point, “He’s a rescue and he’s had a lot of catching-up to do!” Then I declare, “I think he’s smart!” I rummage through my memories for evidence, “You’ve taught him to sing!” (Another story for another time).

Ron’s thinking. He glances down at Sawyer while tucking in one side of his mouth, bends his head as if he’s measuring what I just said.

I’m not waiting for an answer. That’s our dog he’s criticizing! “Besides,” I blurt, “would you rather have a smarty pants dog or a little cuddle bug?”

I go for the jugular – as Sawyer adores Ron and drapes himself all over him every chance he gets – on the chair, on the couch, on the floor when we’re doing yoga!  And Ron sucks the love up like a sponge.

“Ok, I’ll go for the cuddle bug,” Ron answers – but I hear it said limply.

Man, I’m like worked up. Triggered even. We love that little animal. How could my beloved partner be so cold? And what just happened anyway?

This is how triggers work, right?

You’re going along; everything’s fine. And then outta left field, somebody says something or does  something, and you, my friend, are off to the races.

I was off to the f@#king races.

BUT, not for long! These days I don’t stay on the trigger racetrack. I’m able to process very quickly.

To those who ask me if I get upset anymore – after all I’m a specialist in difficult emotions and teach others how to master theirs – the answer is yes, stuff does come up (these days, mostly just little “whispies” like this Sawyer thing). But the difference is, I don’t linger there.

So how did I process this?

Our Emotional Liberation method cultivates exquisite awareness along with a fortified nervous system in order to feel what we’re feeling. In this instance, soon after our “Sawyer” exchange I realized it wasn’t about the dog at all. My honed intuition told me I heard it as him talking about me… that there was something about me that wasn’t smart.

Whoa! My lizard brain plugged into an old file from childhood! You know, the one that gave me the message that I wasn’t very bright… ground-in by the stepfather whose nickname for me was the Big Idiot. Of course, now equipped with my awesome emotional skills, I understand and accept that he was a traumatized and wounded man who felt threaten by a precocious little girl who asked questions that he couldn’t answer. His lizard brain told him, “Put her in her place!”

It was just an old (mostly gone) pattern that showed its pointy little head. 

It took me a few minutes (after my tiny hissy fit) to realize Ron adores our little dog (and me for that matter!) and was simply making an objective observation in comparing the canine brainiac to our sweet affectionate Sawyer. My subconscious “I’m not very smart” cascade that followed was simply a “whispie” of an old tape that for decades told me I was unworthy – until I learned how to free myself from its grip.

In the end, with my emotional awareness, I know it’s not about Sawyer’s smarts or Ron’s assessment. It’s about me – about me noticing that this is simply a remnant of an old programmed behavior. Importantly, I am no longer a slave to it. As I like to say: I meet it, greet it and release it.

The beauty of this approach is that anybody who has the desire and the will can free themselves from their old programs as well. I’m so glad you’re with me as I look forward to sharing more with you.

Comment below and let me know if what I’m saying sounds familiar.

With Love,

Becca